Newport News looking to become a ‘smart city’

Photo courtesy City Center at Oyster Point

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News is working to upgrade local infrastructure with emerging technology.

The city hosted a “Smart Cities Readiness Workshop” delivered by the Smart Cities Council, a unit of a Readiness Program to help communities craft action plans integrating innovative technology with city resources.

Newport News is a finalist for a Smart Cities Council’s 2017 Readiness Challenge Grant, a Gannet Fleming and Sensus company grant to assist cities in improving local transportation, implementing smart development plans, and reducing racial inequality.

“At Sensus, our customers are on the front line of building smart cities,” said Vice President of Communications Solutions Marketing Randolph Wheatley of Sensus.

The workshop explored possibilities of public-private partnerships, smart utilities, open data, emergency management, and transportation options that integrate new technology.

More than 125 city officials, department heads, technology innovators, local business leaders, university representatives, and community influencers participated in the workshop, including former Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson and Newport News Mayor McKinley Price.

Those participating explored possibilities such as converting street lights to energy-efficient LED models, which would more easily allow data streamlining of usage trends.

There was aggregating multi-source video footage so first responders can have real-time access to respond more quickly to emerging threats.

In addition, open data access for the public and free Wi-Fi capabilities were discussed as options for the city to explore among other technology improvements.